A bill to protect the First Amendment rights and personal data of journalists has been introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).
The Protect Reporters from Excessive State Suppression (PRESS) Act proposes legal protections on government surveillance of journalists in the wake of revelations that the Department of Justice obtained information on reporters at CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, allowing only narrow exceptions for terrorism and threat of imminent violence or harm.
“The Trump Administration spied on reporters it suspected of no crimes in its hunt to identify their sources and prevent the American people from learning the truth about Trump’s lawlessness and corruption,” Wyden states.
However, while President Biden and Attorney General Garland have pledged to end such abuses, this is best done by legislation, not by rules that can be overturned by future administrations, Wyden notes.
The new bill proposes “clear rules protecting reporters from government surveillance written into black-letter law,” Wyden says.
According to a synopsis from Widen, the proposed act:
The bill defines a covered journalist as “someone who gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports or publishes news or information that concerns news events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.”
Wyden claims endorsements from: